FDA Advisory Panel Backs New Morning After Pill

An FDA advisory panel voted unanimously to to approve a new version of the “morning after pill.” The new form of emergency contraception, will be sold under the brand name of “ella,” and it can be taken up to 5 days after sexual intercourse.

Ella is already being used in Europe. The women who took ella (also know as UPA) in the clinical trials had a higher success rate than those who took the current FDA-approved option, Plan B. The emergency contraception that is currently available in the U.S. as an over-the-counter product, works most effectively in the first 3 days after unprotected intercourse by preventing ovulation. By comparison, ella has proven to be equally effective throughout the 5 days after unprotected intercourse.

Ella is not an abortion pill. UPA, like other forms of emergency, delays ovulation and will not cause an abortion. It’s important to remember that the medical definition of pregnancy is when a fertilized egg (sperm and egg) implants into the uterus. UPA prevents fertilization by suppressing ovulation.

As of today, ella will only be available by prescription. However, more studies are being conducted to prove ella’s effectiveness for over-the-counter distribution. The FDA’s final vote for approval will happen in July or August.

For more information about ella, check out this story from NPR.


  1. I was an intern at the Feminist Majority during their “ECOTC” (emergency contraception over the counter) Campaign. It’s great to see how far we’ve come.

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